With South Dakota under our belts, it was time to get on down the road. Next stop Minneapolis. Right before we left on this tour, our Minneapolis show got canceled and the booking agent had to quickly reschedule. The result was a PBR-sponsored event at a bowling ally called Memory Lanes. When we got there, the first band was loading onto stage and warming up. The situation was looking pretty good. We were getting a $350 guarantee (courtesy of PBR), and the stage was sitting right in the middle of the lanes! Balls would be wizzing by us while we ripped through a set of Western music. Not bad for a last-minute rescheduled show!
We killed some time with a nice game of air hockey.
Then we ran into THIS douche:
This guy didn’t care about our music and he wasn’t looking to broaden his horizons. More than anything he just wanted us to know that this was his drinking spot. We tolerated him out of respect, but quickly realized he was the neighborhood drunk and he wouldn’t go away unless we were firm. Sugar stepped into his regular role as band “asshole” and mumbled a few words that made him walk away. I’m not sure what he said, but I can guarantee you Sugar was a dick. He is good for these sorts of things.
We played a great set of music in the bowling alley and had a nice crowd of loyal fans. This wasn’t a rock star moment, but it was definitely a win. We did our thing, sold some merchandise, and made a new contact with Craig (the PBR rep). Craig said he might be able to hook us up with some future shows. We have a day off on Wednesday and the Rodeo despises days off. Craig said he might be able to help.
The next morning (Monday) was another drive and another show. Shows early in the week are hard to come by and I usually take whatever I can get. It’s best to hit a big city. We drove into Chicago and loaded into the Elbo Room. Honestly, the highlight of this stop was a slice of Gino’s pizza before our show. We did our thing and got the hell out of town. No gig money this stop. Rooms are too expensive in Chicago and I had found something cheap on Priceline.com in Joliet. We rolled in around midnight.
As I was checking into my room, another band pulled in right behind us. I was too tired to care and got to my room as fast as possible. As I was falling asleep, Sugar texted me to say he was doing his laundry with Willie Nelson’s drummer. No fucking way! Willie Nelson was staying in the same shitty hotel as us right here in Joliet, Illinois. Turns out Willie Nelson had played Joliet that night and this hotel was the only game in town. Crazy shit. I didn’t meet Willie and I’m not much for stalking country music legends. But I gotta say, there is something encouraging about the fact that Willie didn’t sleep any better than we did that night.
As we were hitting the road the next morning I got a call from Craig (the PBR rep). He had contacted his Kansas City counterpart Jessica and she was ready to help us out with our vacant Wednesday night. Within an hour Jessica had approached a number of venues (offering them free beer if they could hook us up) and she lined us up an opening slot on an existing bill. Hell yeah! I love it when new tour connections pay off immediately. To celebrate the good news, we stopped at Cracker Barrel for some breakfast and a game of checkers.
Next, we hoofed to St. Louis for a show with Frontier Ruckus at “Off Broadway." I don’t like to make excuses, but this was a Tuesday night which happened to be election night, which happened to follow a big party weekend (Halloween). We played to a couple of hardcore fans and some crickets. As we were loading out, I noticed my guitar had a big giant crack in the side. It must have been dropped loading in to a show! This is my prized Martin.
In moments like this, it’s easy to turn to the bottle. The Rodeo found a hotel and headed straight to the bar. Things got really loud. The band was obnoxious. I don’t’ think we will be welcomed back to this fine establishment.
This is 3AM in the room. I’m not sure how Brian tore his shorts.
And we may not want to know.
Next Tiny Dancer and Sugar are taking over the Tour Diary. God help us all.